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Wall Street selloff worsens on Mnuchin move, Washington drama

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(Reuters) – The S&P 500 tumbled to the brink of a bear market on Monday as U.S. stocks extended their steep sell-off in a pre-holiday shortened session, with investors rattled by the U.S. Treasury secretary’s convening of a crisis group and by other political developments.

All three major indexes ended down more than 2 percent the day before the Christmas holiday. The S&P 500 finished about 19.8 percent below its Sept. 20 closing high, just shy of the 20 percent threshold commonly used to define a bear market.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called top U.S. bankers on Sunday amid the pullback in stocks and said he was calling a meeting of financial regulators to discuss ways to ensure “normal market operations.”

Investors also were grappling with the federal government shutdown and reports that President Donald Trump privately discussed the possibility of firing the Federal Reserve chairman.

“The headlines we are seeing today, yesterday, over the weekend are not great,” said Vinay Pande, global head of trading strategies at UBS Global Wealth Management.

GRAPHIC: Thousands of U.S. stocks are hitting lows for the year on a daily basis – tmsnrt.rs/2Sk4ph4

“The market is concerned about what is happening in D.C.,” he said. “In the face of a large correction in the market, there seems to be disarray and disunity and people aren’t speaking with one voice, which I think is discouraging to anybody in the market.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 653.17 points, or 2.91 percent, to 21,792.2, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 65.52 points, or 2.71 percent, to 2,351.1 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 140.08 points, or 2.21 percent, to 6,192.92.

Last week, the S&P 500 suffered its biggest weekly percentage drop since August 2011, while the Dow had its biggest weekly drop since October 2008.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., December 24, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

All 11 S&P 500 sectors finished down on the day on Monday, and all were in negative territory for the year. The index posted its lowest closing level since April 2017.

Roughly three-fourths of the S&P 500 was trading in bear market territory. All 30 components of the Dow industrials finished in the red on Monday.

For the third straight day, more than 2,600 New York Stock Exchange- and Nasdaq-listed stocks hit 52-week lows, reflecting a depth of selling not seen in the market since the height of the financial crisis a decade ago.

Mnuchin spoke on Sunday with the heads of the six largest U.S. banks, who confirmed they have enough liquidity to continue lending and that “the markets continue to function properly.”

But investors said his move to convene a call with the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, known as the “Plunge Protection team,” may have weighed on sentiment on Monday.

“When the Dow is down 600 points, it’s hard to say it was a positive,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago. “Although his intention was a very good one, the net feeling I think was, ‘Is there a bigger problem that we don’t know about?”

Adding to jitters, Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, on Sunday said a partial U.S. government shutdown could continue to Jan. 3, when the new Congress convenes and Democrats take control of the House of Representatives.

The stock market closed at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT), ahead of Tuesday’s Christmas holiday.

About 5.9 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, compared with the 8.9 billion-share daily average over the last 20 sessions.

Slideshow (3 Images)

The CBOE Volatility Index .VIX, a widely followed options-based barometer of expected near-term volatility for stocks, finished up 5.96 points, at 36.07, its highest close since Feb. 5.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 3.56-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.68-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted no new 52-week highs and 242 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded five new highs and 837 new lows.

Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Additional reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed in New York and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler

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Independent Consultant Beginner – 6 Should Have Pieces Of It Technology And Software

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Prima Wireless Earbuds Reviewhttps://primawirelessearbuds.net/.

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What Make Sure You Really Know Right Anyone Decide To Travel

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When traveling with children advised plan your route in advance. Do a little research and see as relevant and fun places to stop such as parks, museums or other attractions. Once you take breaks every non-chemical hours so everyone maybe even including the children probably get out and stretch their legs.

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Majority of Canadian workers willing to take less pay for a workplace pension plan: survey

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A majority (70 per cent) of Canadians say they’re willing to forgo a higher salary in exchange for a workplace pension plan, according to a new survey for the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan by Abacus Data.

The survey, which polled more than 2,000 Canadian adults in April, signals an opportunity for employers to build back the post-coronavirus pandemic working landscape better by expanding access to good retirement plans — whether they’re defined benefit, defined contribution or group registered retirement savings plans, says Steven McCormick, senior vice-president of plan operations at the HOOPP.

According to the survey, a secure retirement remains of greater concern for Canadians than concerns about their health, debt load and job security. McCormick says this has been a consistent worry the HOOPP has seen in survey results over the past couple of years. Nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents said they’re very concerned about having enough money in retirement, while 31 per cent were highly concerned about their personal debt load and 26 per cent cited their job security. Close to half of respondents expressed high concerns for their physical (43 per cent) and mental (40 per cent) health.

In addition, the pandemic has harmed the finances of more than half (52 per cent) of Canadians’ surveyed and it’s had a particularly disproportionate affect on the finances of younger adults. Adults aged 44 and younger said they’re twice as likely (25 per cent) to have had their finances greatly harmed, compared to those over the age of 60 (12 per cent).

Generally, younger adults tend to work in roles that may have been impacted most by the pandemic, says McCormick, whether in service industries that were shut down or frontline health care that have been busy but don’t always come with access to a pension plan. “Affordability is an issue, so I think their worries increased during this time.”

And while almost half (46 per cent) of Canadians surveyed said they’ve saved more money than they would have since the onset of the pandemic, among these respondents, over half (52 per cent) didn’t put any of their savings toward their retirement. Overall, most (63 per cent) Canadians surveyed haven’t set aside or saved anything for retirement in the past year, a five-point increase since 2019.

McCormick says this may be due to uncertainty or hesitancy about whether people’s immediate needs outweigh longer-term needs. And with 55 per cent of respondents noting they were very concerned about the cost of day-to-day living, he adds that rising prices have fuelled insecurity and worries so people are creating their own emergency funds right now.

While there’s a segment of the population who’ve saved more and, for them, the pandemic has created wealth, he doesn’t see this as a common narrative in the survey data. “If you don’t have access to a workplace pension or the opportunity to have things like automatic enrolment, the uncertainty of the time may have you holding onto money,” says McCormick. “In Ontario, we’re more optimistic about the pandemic than we were maybe a month ago, but there are still people worrying about whether there’ll be a fourth wave.”

In addition, more than two-thirds (67 per cent) of respondents said a retirement crisis is looming and 65 per cent said saving for retirement is prohibitively expensive. It’s a common and shared dream for many people in looking forward to a secure retirement, says McCormick, noting for many, making that dream a reality remains elusive.

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